An end-of-year back-and-forth is riling up the Democratic primary race for governor.
The spat began after a former Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute intern alleged she was fired after revealing she was transgender.
Michelle Lujan Grisham is currently the head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The CHCI and Lujan Grisham denied knowing that Riley Del Ray was transgender and that the CHCI fired her for other reasons.
Jeff Apodaca, another Democratic candidate for governor, called for a congressional ethics investigation into Lujan Grisham over the allegations earlier this week.
Del Rey said a letter Lujan Grisham’s office showed media was fake. She told the Albuquerque Journal while she did submit a draft letter when she was fired, she never apologized for inappropriate behavior.
Del Rey asked for an ethics investigation into Lujan Grisham last week.
Then it was Apodaca’s turn to be subject to allegations.
On Facebook, a woman accused Apodaca of attempting to kiss her while he had beer on his breath after a wiffle ball game in Santa Fe earlier this year. The woman, Marianna Anaya, is a communications organizer for the American Federation of Teachers.
“While shaking hands after the game, Jeff — who I didn’t know was Jeff at the time — came up to me totally smelling of beer and tried to kiss me on the lips,” she said.
Apodaca denied the allegation.
“Many other women confirmed this allegation is not what happened — it was even noted in this news report by an eyewitness at the softball game, Laurie Martinez,” Apodaca said in a statement. “This is nothing but a desperate attempt by Michelle Lujan Grisham to deflect from the very serious claims of discriminatory firing and falsification of documents in her own congressional office.”
State Sen. Joseph Cervantes of Las Cruces and anti-alcohol activist Peter DeBenedittis are also running for the Democratic nomination.
U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce is the only Republican currently running for the position.